Pre-sort your silverware in the dishwasher

Guest post by Elizabeth R

Duh-momentI’ve been using dishwashers for 30 years, and it just now occurred to me…

The sorting and putting away of silverware is the most annoying and time-consuming part of doing dishes. Why don’t I just sort them as I put the dirty ones INTO the washer?

Designate one basket for forks, one for knives, etc, and then when they are clean you can just grab the whole handful and toss them into the silverware drawer. Bonus if they are all facing upward.

Maybe not a *baskets* moment, but surely a *DUH!* moment!

Comments on Pre-sort your silverware in the dishwasher

  1. My mother taught me NOT to do this. The forks and spoons can nestle into each other, so they don’t get as clean.

  2. What Sarah said. It’s a beautiful idea but when ‘spooning’ occurs, even among the forks, they don’t really get clean.

  3. My Mom taught me the same thing, not to group like items. *However,* I was annoyed enough with the sorting that I did it anyway. I just made sure I didn’t cram too much into one basket at a time, and tried to “stir them up” and face them different directions so they didn’t nestle. Worked fine. To take my dedication to non-sorting one step further, I now keep all of my silverware in one utensil crock on the counter,so it doesn’t matter whether I sort it at all. 😉

    • Some dishwasher utensil baskets actually have slotted lids for each utensil compartment to stick the handles down in, so it’s impossible for the utensils to nest.
      The lids also keep light items from bouncing out of the basket due to high-pressure water; like ball whisks, small lids, and plastic ice cubes.

      • I finally have a dishwasher with this feature! However, when I lived in a tiny place in Paris with an even tinier dish-washer, I used the bottom of a green-plasticy-strawberry basket. I just cut out a section a wee bit bigger than the basket and then slid it in. It held my silver-wear up and separate very nicely.

      • Maybe THAT’S what that lid looking thing is that came with our house, in the dishwasher, but we have never known what the hell it was. Thanks!

  4. Agreed with above on the “spooning” issue. What’s REALLY great are the dishwashers with a top tray for silverware. that way you can organize them by type but they have the little organizers that keep all of the items separated. *dream*

  5. Well, I do it and haven’t had any more issues than before. I certainly haven’t seen them “spooning” together. To each their own, though. I also sort clothes when I put them on the clothesline – shirts, pants, pajamas, etc.

  6. I have been doing this since I first moved in with someone with a dishwasher. It is brilliant. And don’t worry about the spoons “spooning” and not getting washed. In practice, it almost never happens to me. Usually, it only happens when I crammed too many spoons into one basket. And it’s an easy fix; I just leave the dirty spoon in for the next wash.

  7. I get silverware spooned together even when I don’t intentionally sort them together by type!
    Most of you probably don’t have these anymore, but you can sometimes buy them… Lids for your silverware basket! Some dishwashers new come with a little grate for the top of the silverware basket. It’s for separating! I live in a rental, so if there ever was one with my dishwasher, it’s long gone.
    Theory? One could be made with a piece of dishwasherable plastic.

    • I just noticed that the one in the photo even HAS a separator and it’s NOT EVEN BEING USED. Use it for spoons, man. Use it for spoons.

      • It drives me crazy when people wash dishes at my house and flip the seperaters up or put the silverware in the parts of the basket with out seperaters. Really people? It’s like they’re putting extra effort into NOT using things efficiently. But I don’t say anything because they’re washing my dishes so damn it all I’m just gonna shut up and be grateful. Quietly, though, *crazy* o.O

        My problem is actually my forks spooning. I guess it’s just something about the type of flatware we have, but they’ll not only mush together, their prongs will lock and they’ll have to be forcefully yanked apart.

        • I think most people have NO IDEA WHAT THAT’S FOR. I don’t know why we don’t get Dishwasher 101 when we enter “The Real World”, but it’s necessary.

      • The one in the photo looks like the slots are too small to stick utensils with larger handles. My fancy dinnerware (which I use as daily dinnerware <3) I received when I got married would never fit in those holes.

        • The Kitchenaid website is actually recommending that if you can’t use the slots, to alternate utensils up and down to prevent nesting. Handle down, handle up.
          I was always told this isn’t ideal for cleaning, but I guess it’s certainly going to be cleaner than a bunch of nested spoons.

  8. I do this with all my dishes! I keep the handles up and limit it to four utensils per compartment and have never had a problem with “spooning.” I also keep all the big plates in an row in one area, all the baby’s dishes in one area, et cetera so I can go through and put everything that goes into one cabinet there at once. Don’t know if it is more efficient, but I feel like I’m saving time.

  9. Doing this was a totally BASKETS! moment for me when we moved in with my cousin and he warned us that the one thing his partner was really picky about was pre-sorting silverware in the dishwasher. It had never occurred to me before! Now it’s standard practice for us, even after we moved into our own house. I’ve never had them nest up.

  10. It’s how we do it in restaurants – just don’t fill them too full and jangle them up before putting them in the wash. Although I love dootsiebug’s suggestion of the separator!

  11. I really try to do this, but then I’ll forget once and they get all mixed up. I consider fixing it, but then I think, “Putting away the silverware is Future Jessica’s problem. Screw that bitch.”

  12. Ha! My husband does this, and it annoys the crap out of him when I load the dishwasher and don’t do it. I was also taught the non-sorted method for spooning-avoidance. However, I’ve since been converted. I just forget sometimes, and then he makes me sort it into the drawer.

    • Same here with my hubby! It really ticks him off if I just free throw all the silverware in there (he’s adamant about the sorting thing which makes sense). So lately, he loads it and I unload it. =)

  13. I just don’t find the sorting into my cutlery drawer to be particularly time consuming… maybe ten seconds? I’m going to time myself tonight. (Yes, really. If I remember.)

    • I did time myself once. It took me longer to sort them into the dishwasher and make sure they weren’t nested than it did to just sort them into the drawer clean when I don’t have yucky mouth germs limiting what I’ll touch.

  14. Yep. My restaurant days taught me this is a no-no. They nestle back to back (esp spoons) and don’t get clean, or sufficiently cleansed.

  15. This could be skirting the issue, but I just put into the same container post washing. This is mostly because I live in an apartment with literally 2 drawers in the whole kitchen (which are too shallow for dividers). Regardless, it allows me to avoid this problem like a badass.

  16. Honestly, I think with the water blasting around in there, the utensils are going to shift enough to where the spooning issue wont matter unless you really pack it in. This is also why we rinse everything when we’re done with it. Ya know, while it’s still wet so you don’t have to waste water or bother with scraping dried on food. We’ve been doing it like that for years and love it!

  17. You know what I love? That there is an entire page of comments on the pros and cons of sorting. (I sort btw!)

    I love the offbeat sites and readers…..

  18. I might could do that, except I always have to methodically put 1 thing in 1 basket until all are full, and then go back down the line with 2, then 3, etc until all the silverware is in. I want the same number of items in each compartment. I’m odd, I know.

  19. I do this! You just have to be conscious of *how* you put each item in. For example, put the first spoon in with the end of the handle in the NE (top right) corner of the basket compartment. Next one goes in on the SE corner (bottom right)… and so on. It’s like flower arranging!

  20. I’ve started putting sharp stuff upside-down in the dishwasher ever since I heard about someone being killed after tripping and falling onto a knife stacked blade-up (it must be true. It was on QI). That said, one-up-one-down would probably also avoid (fatal) accidental stabbing, since a combination of blunt and sharp isn’t going to be as, er, stabby as with everything pointy-end-up.

    It’s a very unlikely scenario, I’ll grant you, but I tend to trip a lot, so I worry about what I might fall on ^_^

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